Changes made to an annual prayer breakfast (May 14, 2019)

The city of New Hope is making changes to an annual prayer breakfast, addressing concerns brought to light by FFRF.

A New Hope resident reported that each year the city hosts a “Community Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.” The event was reportedly sponsored by the city of New Hope. The city sells tickets for this event and the event is reportedly advertised on the city’s official website. The city’s mayor also reportedly participated in the event in his official capacity. The complainant reported that New Hope also displays a religious message “America, God shed his grace on thee” above the main desk of its city hall building.

Legal Fellow Chris Line wrote to Mayor Kathy Hemken, highlighting the constitutional concern of the city’s hosting and coordination of a prayer breakfast.

The city confirmed that the religious sign has been removed and, with regard to the prayer breakfast, “any future prayer breakfasts will be conducted in compliance with the guidelines outlined in the Newman case.” Those guidelines restrict the use of city funds, employees, resources, and supplies in facilitating the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.

Freedom From Religion Foundation